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Fuller House (2016)
Ghastly, annoying, offputting
Like: One or two laughs per episode.
Love: D.J. and Stephanie sure are eye-candies. Of course, the plunging necklines and high heels--isn't that what every girl next door casually wears around the home!?--help a lot.
Dislike: The saturation of cheap, base sexual innuendo. Full House used to be clean and wholesome. It was a huge part of its charm. I know times have changed but the incessant Frenching and allusions to bedroom acrobatics are grating.
Hate: The very loose, if any, morals. Random, casual hook-ups and mattress-surfing? Do we really need another show to send the message that monogamy and the strong, stable, and committed family are outdated? We get it, Hollywood: You hate traditional values. Just give it a rest with relentlessly undermining them.
DETEST: The unremitting canned laughter. Even worse are the nonstop oohs and ahs, the whooping, and--oh Mylanta--the screams! I mean, they now (end of season 2) scream every time literally any character appears. Talk about trying too hard... Oy...
Used to be riveting & unique, now it's a soppy, politically-correct yawn-fest
Oh, what an engaging show this used to be... I still remember episodes from more than a decade ago with Sasha Alexander. Ziva was a solid replacement, ably supported by Tony and Ducky. Gibbs was a no-nonsense, high-and-tight Marine. There was action, there was intrigue, there was natural humor, there were genuinely poignant moments even during the slower, more personal scenes. Those moments were moving because they felt real and because they involved characters we cared about.
The past couple of years have upturned almost all of that. Almost all the core personalities are gone. Those still there (Gibbs, McGee, and--occasionally--Ducky) have been emasculated to the point where you begin wondering if McGee and Jimmy are going to start making out during one of their heart-to-hearts. Gibbs is becoming more of a senile grandpa with each episode. Other characters have come and gone: the gorgeous Jennifer Esposito, the black English dude, McGee's disabled wife... As for the shrink (Jack) and the new Abby (a.k.a. a female Steve Urkel), the less said the better. Torres and Bishop are okay but they're never going to fill the shoes of Ziva David and Anthony DiNozzo. I think the only character worth his salt anymore is Director Vance.
Then there's the storylines and plots. The show has taken on a distinctly politically-correct tone. Seasons 16 has so far managed to dredge up racism form the 1960s as well as feature sermonizing about the environment... - and that's just two episodes! It's now a hybrid of the Gilmore Girls, Lethal Weapon, and Dr. Phil.
It pains me to say it but this show is well past its sell-by date. It's time to put it out of its misery. May this season (#16) be the last so the show is retired with _some_ (albeit not much) dignity left...
Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)
Even in its own right, this picture is unrealistic, jaded, and all-around silly. It wouldn't merit more than four stars. However, it is in comparison to its 1973 namesake that this scam of a movie truly gets to showcase just how abysmal it is.
The original was dynamic, replete with action, and almost believable. It let the acting and plot (in that order) do the work. Even today, it would earn 6-7 stars easily. This abomination though can muster neither. The acting sucks because the plot sucks, hence the need for two hot chicks and fancy explosions. I mean, when in the first five minutes we're treated to a buxom woman with a short tight skirt, fishnet stockings, and high-heeled boots, then it ain't hard to see where we're headed. And the sexual tension between the pretty shrink and the "sarge" (who looks like somebody who would've washed out of rookie training, never mind gotten several promotions) just affirms the producers' desperation.
Lastly, this picture is a time and a half as long as its predecessor. Regrettably, the added 50% is mostly used for trite, utterly forgettable dialog rather than interesting plot twists or some development of the cookie-cutter, one-dimensional characters.
Bonus negative points: the ultra-P.C. script (well, for the most part). True, the main protagonist is now a Caucasian unlike in the original iteration. However, the perps are all either small-time crooks or, but of course, totally innocent of any wrongdoing. No rapists or brutal murderers here! It's Rolex counterfeiters and a victimized African-American woman who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight. And the assailants are not some expendable, no-good hoodlums found only if the bottom of the barrel of society is scratched real hard; nope, they're police officers. Dozens of them. All corrupt and murderous... - and white. Boy, oh boy...
The Princess & the Marine (2001)
As someone who is going through a similar situation, I am extremely disappointed with some of the comments here whose purpose is nothing but to spread absurd politically-correct propaganda.
Yes, the movie is replete with inaccuracies: from the police uniforms, to geography, to topography, to scenery, to everyday practices in Bahrain (e.g. salespeople in theaters are extremely unlikely to be Bahrainis or Moslems; they are usually Filipinos and Indians who take no interest in a couple romancing each other).
However, the underlying premise of the picture is spot-on. There is a reason this case engendered as much publicity as it did, and no, the woman being a princess was not the only one. A Bahraini (or, in my case, Kuwaiti) woman is practically never involved with or married to a Westerner, and certainly never a non-Moslem, because everyone knows very well that doing so and getting caught is guaranteed to entail severe mental and physical punishment, including death. Therefore, the portrayal of Maryam's family and culture is not at all "bigoted." If anything, it was incredibly mild compared to what actually goes on in the homes of the Arabian/Persian Gulf states. The relentless, institutionalized brainwashing and control to which Bahraini, Kuwaiti, Saudi, Qatari, Emirati, and Omani women are subjected to boggles the mind, and no amount of imagination on the part of someone who never experienced it can possibly depict it. The couple's relationship ultimately did not work out. That though is most likely the result of the couple's lack of maturity and preparedness for married life; it is certainly not a vindication of the oppressive "culture" Maryam was born into.
THis movie is not a documentary nor was it envisioned to be such. It is, however, inspirational and educational. I hope my own story has a happy ending despite all the tribulations still coming our way.
End of Watch (2012)
A stunning picture, superlative in every way...
It is very rarely that I give movies scores of eight or more, so for this to be a 10/10 one can be sure it exceeded all expectations.
For one, it is an emotional roller-coaster ride, from start to finish. I am usually difficult to engage with movies or their stories or characters, but this one evoked in me feelings ranging from fury, amusement, grief, solemnity, pride... - you name it. For that alone, the picture deserves great credit.
It also quite quickly got me to care about--indeed, care FOR--the characters. They became real people with real lives, real concerns, and real personalities.
The picture itself has a supremely riveting storyline, well dramatized and executed.
In short, after standing (long story!) through this movie for almost two hours, I would more than happily have continued doing so for at least another two if not more.
And lastly, a shoutout to all the boys and girls in blue: From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your service and your sacrifices...
The Ides of March (2011)
Outstanding! A gross indictment of our times...
The picture blows the lid on the filthy, gutter world of politics. It shows--warts and all--just how spineless, amoral, and opportunistic EVERYONE in that line of work is.
The story itself is quite engaging for anyone with even a passing interest in U.S. politics. It is dramatized well, and the characters are also portrayed adequately. There is not much character depth (hence not a perfect 10 score), but any such development would arguably have been unnecessary anyway to convey the message.
And therein lies the real forte of this picture: the message. Politicians and their apparatchiks are no longer in it out of any great conviction, let alone a genuine desire to Make a Difference(TM). All they are after in power and position. That end invariably justifies the means. There is no limit to the skulduggery, legerdemain, backstabbing and betrayal, lying, conniving, deceiving, coaxing, cajoling, misrepresenting, etc. they will engage in so long as they attain that goal: the office they are running for.
That explains why the modern Western world of politics is so frustrating. Did you ever feel that it is irrelevant who you vote for; that "they're all the same"? Well, they are. They will say and do anything to get the vote; once in, they are reluctant to do much of note. And why would they, when they care not about the voters and their needs, but about Number One and ONLY Number One!?! Politicians of old got paid very little, but boy, they had principles. And their impetus was improving the country and the lives of the people living in it. How times have changed.
O, tempore! O, mores! That subtext--running throughout the movie--is far and away its greatest strength. May it open the eyes of its viewers...
Gene Roddenberry is done
I write this from the perspective of having seen the first three and a half seasons (i.e. being in the middle of the fourth one). Things might pick up in the remaining season and a half, although judging by the reviews posted here and elsewhere, that seems very unlikely.
On the plus side, the show has some interesting overall ideas and some of the story arcs are quite good. A solid portion of the action is engaging. And hey, good-looking, voluptuous women stylin' and profilin' in skintight leather and P.V.C. body-suits gotta count for somethin', right! Seriously though, there are quite a few episodes that are capable of having the viewer riveted from start to finish.
Such shows, however, are in a minority. Most of them are in some way annoying, boring, or both. For boring, try Rev. Bem and his endless, silly disquisitions about some cockamamie religious doctrine. I can't stand the makebelieve stuff the humankind actually came up with; I sure don't have time for some makebelieve makebelieve.
As far as annoying, one is even more spoiled for choice. There could be the "fights," which fall into two categories: (1) hand-to-hand, and (2) shootouts. For the former, after the protagonists literally bounce off bulkheads for a while and make 720-degree high-kick turns, the indomitable Captain Hunt emerges victorious. For the latter, after a minute or two of suppressing weapons fire from multiple directions and being vastly outnumbered, Captain Hunt, yes, emerges victorious. Add to that that, in a universe with fantastic technology, small-arms fire is less accurate than someone trying to hit an apple a half a mile away with a bow and arrow... - unless it's Captain Hunt doin' the shootin', in which case he eventually manages to hit his target.
Continuing with the annoying theme, another candidate is Hunt frenching every semi-decent-looking broad in sight. I thought Kirk of the original Star Trek was bad, humping as he did just about every female and female-like species all over the universe. But even he had the decency to do it only, like, 4-5 times a season. Hunt, by contrast, slips someone the tongue every other episode. Oh, and he does it at the most inopportune moments, such as while being shot at, with a self-destruct sequence rapidly nearing zero, etc. The truly pathetic schmaltzy muzak (which was actually designed to come across as "romantic" BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!) only serves to aggravate the annoying factor. Note, however, that he only makes out with the REALLY attractive femininas. Those below 9 or 10 out of 10 have to go without swapping fluids with the masterful captain.
Honorable mention #1: The preposterous music introduced in Season 3 during action sequences. Far from conveying a sense of urgency, desperation, and hope, it's something you'd hear while watching National Lampoon's Vacation (1983). Yes, it really is...THAT BAD!
Honorable mention #2: The very idea that the survival of three galaxies of the universe could ever depend on one man and his spaceship - both three centuries out of date - is ridiculous to the point of being insulting to one's intelligence. I mean, it's tantamount to a schooner from the days of the British Empire suddenly appearing on the high seas and tearassing through the oceans, laying the smackdown on the U.S. Navy, the Chinese, or even the Somali pirates.
All I can say about Andromeda is: LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!
Stargate SG-1: Singularity (1997)
Firstly, witnessing thousands of people perished (including, one presumes, quite a few children among them), "Captain" Carter barely bats an eye. Yet, she gets all weepy and irrational about this one kid. To hell with playing a part in the battle against the most potent enemy the humanity ever faced; la doctora is instead going to basically kill herself so that this precious little girl does not spend the last three minutes of her life alone. I thought the military had some kind of psych-evaluation at the recruitment stage so as to weed out total lunatics from joining its ranks.
But that's not even the most absurd part. Nay; here it is: The precious little girl doesn't die! That's right: After boring us for 40 minutes with what are meant to be emotive, poignant scenes about the sweet little girl's anguish, it all ends with her playing with a dog in a grassy field. She was missing just a butterfly net to complete the cliché. *barf* You have got to be SH!@@ING me
Yet another deus ex machina script where some 11th-hour nonsense changes the preceding 90% of the doom-and-gloom story into a "they all lived happily ever after" tripe. I have to say SG-1 really blindsided me here; I did - reasonably yet obviously foolishly - expect the kid to go KABOOM! Really anticlimactic.
I really enjoyed SG-1 until this episode. As someone else correctly noted: How can I take this series seriously ever again after this crap?! I so hope this was an aberration; otherwise I may as well can the remaining nine seasons.
Oh, and boring to boot.
Lackadaisical, clichéd, annoying
Let us suspend disbelief as well as ignore some of the most elementary posits of physics and mechanics.
Let us even ignore the fact that in a disaster that irrevocably claimed hundreds of lives, what happens to a ragtag group of a half-dozen "survivors" is really not important or interesting, particularly if it involves the best part of the 100 minutes of the movie them crawling through ducts, pushing levers, and pulling hatches.
Though the picture bumped off a couple from the group along the way, I soon began wishing the others, too, would meet their maker in a hurry.
The kid and his momma, in particular, I found to be supremely annoying. The first time they got themselves in a spot of bother, watching others' rescue them was mildly entertaining. By the fifth time - with all the attendant screaming and wailing - I wished I was physically there to hold both their heads under water for a few minutes. Besides, I knew they would survive; no way would the producers have allowed the kid to die.
If they had? Now THAT would have made for a refreshing movie!
Remember Sunday (2013)
Unrealistic. Just unrealistic. Irritatingly unrealistic.
The underlying premise of the movie is engaging and intriguing. Even though I am not an aficionado of the romance genre, the supposed comedic angle would have made this a watchable and enjoyable picture were it not for a few problems.
1) The quickfire, shoot-from-the-hip, smartassy dialog is absurd. For most of the movie I had a feeling I was watching an outtake from the Gilmore Girls (the couple of episodes of which that I watched I found supremely annoying). (Actually, as I was writing this review, I checked the casts of the two, and it turns out that Molly had indeed "starred" in G.G.!) Producers/scriptwriters, here's a clue for you: NOBODY TALKS LIKE THAT IN REAL LIFE!!!
2) Characters routinely goof up but everything works out great. Missed an alarm or your crummy auto won't start? No problem. Just run through the beautiful morning city, pick (read: steal) a bunch of flowers from a public park, hop on a picturesque tram, and arrive at your destination smelling of apple pie. Meanwhile, most people in the real world would have to contend with inconsiderate drivers, get fined for vandalizing public property, wait a quarter hour for a tram, and at the end they'd be out of breath and reek of sweat for the rest of the day.
Or take Molly's college paper. The first time around she gets a C. She then has a "profound" (*rolls eyes*) roller-coaster experience with Gus, which causes an existential paradigm shift in her, and she scores an A+ on the redo. If ONLY college studies worked like that! Forget spending hours doing laborious and tedious research; just fix to get your heart broken then made whole again, and you're golden!
3) I can't believe the reviews here extolling the acting. The characters are one-dimensional and predictable. They oscillate between Prozac-like ecstasy/effervescence and defeat/disappointment/despondency.
4) Gus was supposed to be another Einstein? Yeah. Right. Because a guy in his, what, late 20s could have become more of an accomplished Einstein than Einstein himself was. And because a fallen Einstein is seemingly abandoned by all his former N.A.S.A. and other colleagues, friends, and acquaintances, bar literally his sister and one best friend. And because a fallen Einstein needs a messed-up college dropout to apprise him of the existence of revolutionary medical treatments to cure his condition.
(5) The cheap, trite muzak does nothing to elevate this picture. They really could have put some more effort into the musical score.
In fairness, the movie does not insult us with a happily-ever-after ending and does make it clear that if Gus and Molly's relationship - such as it is - is to survive, a lot of sacrifice would be needed. That is a commendable message. I just wish it could have been made without an hour and a half-long rigmarole plagued by the problems listed above.
The movie is watchable... - and no more than that
Forget suspending disbelief. You're suspending your higher brain functions with this one.
A ne'er-do-well down-and-out mook turns out to be the only one on the planet with sufficient gumption, intellect, and astuteness to save said planet from an invasion by a vastly superior alien species. No, wait, I tell a lie: His multifaceted, multitalented heroine lends an able helping hand.
Forget the absurdity of a dumb kid who got tasered by cops for stealing a burrito becoming a senior Navy officer a couple of years thereafter; the REAL shocker is that aliens as dumb as the specimens in this movie ever made it past their stone age. They exhibit such idiocy that it's doubtful they would have been able to even domesticate animals on their home-world, never mind evolve technologically.
On the plus side, the movie is fast-paced, chock-full of action, and fun. It's literally mindless entertainment, and so long as you accept it as such, it's a couple of hours not entirely irretrievably lost.
Lone Survivor (2013)
Some have cast doubts on the verisimilitude of parts of this picture. Of course, those who impugn whether some events really happened or whether they happened the way they are depicted in the movie neither underwent the kind of training Navy S.E.A.Ls do nor did they ever find themselves in circumstances remotely approaching those of the four comrades. We do not know what punishment the human body is truly capable of withstanding until we are put to an extreme test, gods forbid.
All I can say is that, regardless of whether this movie is accurate 100%, 0% or anything in between, it brought me to tears. I can honestly not remember the last time a Hollywood movie did that.
Very moving, very poignant, very touching. For that alone, as well as for keeping me riveted for the whole of two hours (which is quite a feat given my cynical and jaded nature), it deserves unalloyed plaudits.
Deja Vu (2006)
The most apposite movie title EVER!
Deja vu indeed. Already seen. Over. And over. And over.
It was a pretty interesting flick until around the middle: the point at which the indomitable Denzel decides to go back in time. It had to happen though. I mean, without his going back in time, we'd have had a movie where he didn't French a broad, and that just simply wouldn't do!
So, notwithstanding a solid first half, how is this movie idiotic? Let me count the ways:
* Though sending living organisms through the "wormhole" had been tried before with disastrous, yea lethal, consequences, Denzel pulls it off with nary a cardiac arrest.
* Denzel then strolls out of the hospital a few hours after said cardiac arrest (I'd like to see the fittest of patients do that in real life!) and proceeds to perform high-speed driving stunts to boot.
* The obligatory damsel in distress had been kidnapped, blindfolded, had gasoline poured all over her, witnessed a massive close-proximity explosion and a gun battle. That would permanently traumatize to the point of delirium all but the most stoic and hardened of soldiers, never mind an innocent yuppie. Yet, literally 10-15 minutes later she's pulling a gun on Denzel, in total control of the situation, and then joins him in hatching up a daring and cunning plan.
* We get to see Denzel's chiseled torso. Yay.
* We get to witness a spark between Denzel and the damsel, set to schmaltzy muzak. (All the while, remember, the bomb is ticking away!) I guess it was meant to be a poignant "Aaaawww" moment, but it was so contrived and jaded that I just laughed. Such drek has the effect of lowering my impression of a movie by 20% right there. Here's a clue for ya, Hollywood: Real people don't fall in love while cleaning each other's gunshot wounds barely a half hour after they first meet. Take a few lessons from Bollywood about how to present a believable and moving romance.
* The terrorist's motivation is never really discovered or disclosed, nor are his cause and affiliations. Yet, he - a lone, homegrown, wolf - manages to drive an S.U.V. without license plates and with a bomb the size of a barrel onto a ferry with hundreds of military personnel on board. Yeah. Right.
* Upon realizing something was amiss with her beau's original plan, the heroine jumps onto the ferry from the shore. Nobody, apparently, detects that. One wonders why anyone bothers buying a ticket to go on a ferry if it's that easy to get on board for free.
* The terrorist DOES make her though, but - whaddaya know - does NOT kill her! Instead, he tapes her mouth and locks her in a car. In the driver's seat. *double facepalm*
* The terrorist does, however, kill without a how do you do at least a half dozen heavily-armed servicemen wearing flak jackets, in addition to a few guards.
* With bullets flying nineteen to a dozen on the lower deck, the seamen and other personnel crowd the upper decks, literally falling over themselves, to observe the spectacle.
* The heroine starts up the vehicle whose steering wheel she was conveniently placed behind, and at the pivotal moment drives into the terrorist.
* Several armed agents empty their magazines into the runaway vehicle with a massive bomb in it. But. Do. Not. Hit. The. Bomb.
* Denzel dies. *bawl* But two minutes later another Denzel comes along. *whoop* The two ride off into the sunset... - or some such. *a tear*
Give me a fracking break.
And I don't mean "fracking."
The thing is, Denzel Washington is actually a good actor, and I like him a lot. He is one of the few able to deliver his lines in a way that sounds totally spontaneous, almost as if ad libbing. This guano was beneath him; if I was him, I'd keep it off my Resume.
The Perfect Storm (2000)
As movies these days tend to go, this was not half-bad.
Let me say right off the bat that I don't like George Clooney too much. Many of his pictures tend to be about him rather than the plot. Or better put, he more or less IS the plot. He usually heroically, against all possible and impossible odds, saves the day, which is I find supremely irritating. Indeed, that is the pattern often followed by Hollywood when there's a big-shot "celebrity" starring.
So to hear Georgie intone in his deadpan trademark too-sexy-for-this-flick voice "I wanna fish; it's what I do" was beyond hysterical!
Anyway, I was not familiar with the background story, and thought right through the end that they were going to make it, for obvious reasons (the superhuman skipper in charge of the fishing vessel, of course!). I am deeply sorry about the fishermen who died that day, and even more so their families, but for the purposes of this picture, I have to confess to being glad about the corollary. I'm saturated to the brim with the schmaltzy, hyper-unrealistic happy-ending movies.
Source Code (2011)
Excellent premise, irritating execution
The underlying premise is really interesting, but the materialization is at a few points in the movie annoying to the point of being excruciating.
We have a soldier in the U.S.A.F. who finds himself in an inexplicable and highly perturbing situation. Yet, it is explained to him in no uncertain terms the critical nature of his mission. Hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of lives depend on him efficiently and methodically finding a bomber and possibly thwarting his/her nefarious designs.
Instead, the guy goes off-track on silly "side-missions" (finding out what had happened to his real self, or Frenching his leggy companion on the train), and engages in interminable dialogs with mission control.
Nevertheless, the beginning and especially the end are superbly done. It is poignant without being schmaltzy and cheap. This is the first movie in quite a while I can gladly recommend.
For those of us interested in quantum physics, watching this was a boon. For the rest, look up the Schroedinger's cat story; it will give you a new perspective on this picture.
White House Down (2013)
I am just speechless.
I gave this picture one star. In truth, it's not THAT bad; it has enough redeeming features to get, say, 3/10. It's just that the annoying elements are irritating to such a degree as to totally disannul any bright points. What, out of interest, might those be? Well, the movie has some neat SFX. There are a handful of witty quips. Um... Yeah, that's about it.
What's wrong with it? (1) The ineffably TIRED HACKNEYED VAPID recipe of one "regular guy" using a series of brilliant, superhuman feats of body and mind to foil a sophisticated scheme dreamed up by highly-trained, determined pros. Oh, did I mention that the "regular guy" has a dysfunctional family? Why, nobody ever did THAT before! (2) The malefactors shoot up the entire White House. Scores of the best military and intelligence personnel on the entire planet are smoked in a matter of minutes by barely a dozen disaffected ex-commandos. Our "regular guy" though manages to get shot at by thousands of bullets and escape with nary a bruise; not only that, but he cracks wise along the way.
(3) The "regular guy" singlehandedly dispatches practically all the terrorists. Oh yeah, he thwarts -- singlehandedly, naturally -- the outbreak of World War Three as well. Really, I don't know why we bother having the entire U.S.A.F., DoD, special forces, intelligence agencies, etc. when all we need is someone like Agent Cale (one per city, or even one per state, should more than suffice!).
(3) The antagonists (whom, despite my fervent patriotism, I couldn't help but start rooting for barely 20 minutes into the movie) drop hundreds of people coldblooded precision; yet, El Presidente and the obligatory precocious-yet-vulnerable kid are kept alive forever for ZERO good reason except to be "heroically" saved by our "regular guy." I therefore nearly creamed my pants when El Presidente got shot. Just a flesh wound though; he survived. But of course. Talk about anticlimactic. Not only did he survive: After lying "dead" for ten minutes he got up unaided and made a quip, too.
(4) Speaking of which, the tone and appearance of "the president" are extremely evocative of Obama. I don't know why they bothered conjuring up the name "President Sawyer." I also don't get how come they released the picture after the 2012 presidential election. Obama couldn't have *paid* to have such flagrant propaganda churned out by Hollywood at his behest. Oh, and not only is "the president" depicted as a multifaceted, multitalented super-Obama, but the movie is laden with cheap political potshots at the military, the "right wing," the Republicans, Speaker Boehner-equivalent, the advocates of military action against Iran, etc., etc.
(5) The pathetic, eye-rolling ad misericordiam invoked every ten minutes. No, by Jupiter, we WON'T bomb the White House because of the 60-odd hostages' lives in there, even if it means millions of people dying as a direct result. Yeah, LET'S convince Obama -- I mean, Sawyer -- to launch the nukes aimed at tens of millions of Iranians by putting a gun to the cutie-patootie girlie-twirlie's head. (Naturally, the scene is not played out because, deus ex machina, the "regular guy" creates a diversion.) (6) The amount of deus ex machina is just astonishing, even for the level of asininity this excuse for a movie scrapes. Just when you dare to begin hoping the "bad guys" are about to drop one of the annoying protagonists, something happens to sidetrack them.
(7) What was supposed to be one of the most poignant scenes, to wit, the cutie-patootie girlie-twirlie running outside the White House and maniacally waving the Presidential Standard, easily wins THE most groan-inducing scene award. And for a movie chock full of such scenes, that's some accomplishment! (8) The liberties taken by the producers concerning the Constitutional procedure are stupefying. Presidents are sworn in, sworn out, installed, toppled as if it was the Tonight Show! (9) Coup d'etat; I mean, coup de grace: The closing scene. President's helo. Six people. Three African-Americans. One strong, confident, high-flying woman in a power-suit. One early-teen cutie-patootie girlie-twirlie who -- despite all the carnage she just witnessed -- show not a hint of P.T.S.D. And one "regular guy" :) *sigh* I mean, what to say... This is just so f**king laughable and pathetic and silly and ludicrous and jaded and idiotic as to defy any analysis.
When we get a Stallone or Schwarzenegger (or even Will Smith or Tom Cruise) picture, we know what we're in for. Forget suspending disbelief; we suspend all higher brain functions.
This movie though aspires to something more serious, something more cerebral. It fails abysmally.
I wasted two hours of my life and I lost two dozen I.Q. points.
Forget waterboarding. If we want to make Gitmo terrorists talk, play them this movie on a loop. A couple of times should be enough to make even the hardest of them crack.
Meh, O.K., but could do without the Islamic propaganda
The plot is interesting. Some complain about the development being too slow, but I found it to be all right.
So, on those points, this is a good show: Watchable and intriguing.
What irks me a lot is the message subtly being disseminated throughout. Moslems are not at all bad people. Look at the main protagonist: He converted and now prays daily -- together with all the ablutions and incantations -- but he's a loyal soldier and a steadfast American patriot. How freaking sweet. And the imam: He clearly knows something about the ticking-timebomb terrorist and his mosque was used by the same to evade capture by the police, but he is continually said to be a "good man," and is begged to divulge information rather than have his six shipped off to Gitmo. The arch-terrorist himself is a doting family man. Seriously? So, let me guess: All these supposed "moderate Moslems" we keep hearing so much about haven't been able to convince us that they're nothing to be feared from, so now we need "Homeland" to give that piece of propaganda a shot? Pathetic.
Oh, and a C.I.A. agent decides to schtup a terrorist suspect?! And then, in an isolated location, she confesses her suspicions to him!?! Speaking of which, I do not care for the sex scenes. Now, I'm no puritan by any means and have no objection to supposed nudity and violence on T.V., but what, exactly, is gained from shots of people bumping uglies?!? Honestly, if that is how C.I.A. agents operate, then the American people should be very, very afraid.
"Predictable," "forgettable," "inaccurate"...
Those are some of the criticisms leveled at the movie.
Forgettable? I don't think so. I rewatched this picture three times in the space of eight or so months, and am sure to do so again. I love politics and anthropology, and this movie goes a decent way toward depicting the transition-South-African psyche and events.
Inaccurate? Maybe. But, then, this is not supposed to be a documentary. For dead-on accurate features one usually goes to the History Channel.
Predictable. Aside from a few tense moments, yes.
However, none of the above detracts in any way from this movie. It is interesting, fast-moving, does not contain gratuitous violence or sex or C.G.I. It is thoughtful and thought-provoking. It is also very poignant. Though not a fan of the A.N.C. and having reservations about Mr. Mandela himself, I have no shame in admitting I was moved to tears a number of times. Pres. Mandela is rightly portrayed as a statesman and a mensch who averted disaster and bloodshed upon the dismantling of the reprehensible Apartheid regime.
The message conveyed through this picture gives hope, particularly to those of us in the Middle East. If the bitter enemies of decades of turbulent strife can get along, there might be hope for us yet, too!
P.S. The musical score is also excellent!
Law Abiding Citizen (2009)
Yes, the ending sucks, but...
...I'd rather have 90 minutes of great movie and 13 minutes of a disappointing conclusion than vice-versa.
The introduction and body of the movie are fantastic, full of drama, suspense, and a continuous emotional roller-coaster.
As many, I wasn't happy with the ending. But, then, how was it ever going to end anyway? The protagonist could either have met his death or he'd have been sentenced to multiple, consecutive life sentences. He was never going to be released, that's for sure. So, given those choices, the first wasn't such a bad one.
More disappointing is that the protagonist is turned into the "bad guy" toward the end, even though I personally didn't buy it. He may have gotten a bit carried away with his attempt to blow up the mayoral conference, but I'd say his heart was in the right place.
In any event, the movie, including the finale, got us all talking. Isn't that a hallmark of a good picture?
Spartacus: Blood and Sand (2010)
When I say "boring," I don't mean the story. The story is actually very interesting, as that whole period of our history is anyway.
No, "boring" is for the production. The blood, the gore, the sex... It's mildly curious (entertaining, even?) the first couple of times stuff like that is shown but then it gets tedious and predictable. As others have stated here: It's GRATUITOUS. I never really knew what the concept of "gratuitous" meant in practice, but THIS, is it! Now, I'm no prude. I don't swoon at the idea or sight of blood, guts, decapitations, etc. on television or in video games, nor do I think they should be banned or even regulated all that strictly.
It's just that having what-looks-like gallons of blood splashed across the screen every five minutes or having 3-4 soft-sex scenes per episode does not contribute to, aid, or benefit the show in any way. It doesn't make it more realistic; it doesn't make it more entertaining (unless you're a cocooned 12-year-old seeing "violence" for the first time); it doesn't make the viewer feel more involved or sympathetic. It appears that such scenes are there only to shock the prissy old grannies who still care about violence on T.V. It's like: "Hey, look at us, we've got blood galore and sex galore on a show about a historical topic. We're real f!@#ing pioneers!!" Give me a break.
And what's with the British accents?!? Has Hollywood's supply of talent and wannabe talent dried up? Or is it that, for some reason, a show cannot possibly be "historical" unless the actors speak in an English that's spoken by a tiny fraction of global English speakers?
First of all, I have to confess to not having found any of the previous Vacation installments particularly funny. They elicited a few chuckles but were otherwise so jaded that my eyes nearly fell out of their sockets with all the rolling I made them do.
This abomination of a movie is so bad as to be positively criminal. Forget waterboarding; THIS is an example of a cruel and unusual punishment if ever I saw one. Christmas Vacation 2 is not only not in the least bit funny; it is actually just plain stupid to boot. The characters don't look, talk or act drolly, nor do they find themselves in comical situations. It's all terribly contrived and slap-stick (well, far more slap than stick, and I mean a slap in the VIEWERS' faces!). It's a testament to my masochistic tendencies that I braved through about a half of it, albeit over the course of three hours: I just had to stop and take sanity breaks after pretty much every scene. I gave up at that point and went out for a walk in a thunderstorm, hoping a lightning might bring me sweet relief.
Even the presence of the jaw-droppingly stunning Sung-Hi Lee could not salvage this train wreck.
I know this is not constructive criticism; it's just that this picture is beyond any meaningful critique.
Nothing But the Truth (2008)
Thought-provoking but ultimately S-U-C-K-Y
This movie is tendentious in the extreme. Its anti-government, anti-establishment credo permeates just about every scene. Rachel Armstrong is portrayed as a victimized hero, and those trying to get her to talk are bullies. They're anti-democratic brutes whose principal aim is to shield an overbearing government from accountability and public scrutiny.
I'm all for upholding the Constitution. I cherish the First Amendment as the encapsulation of our values, and indeed as what ought to be the foremost aspiration of the human race. It's what America is all about; it's what humanity's future is (hopefully) all about.
Nor am I fan of secretive governments. I firmly believe in a government of the people, by the people, for the people; open, transparent, approachable.
However, not everybody in the world sees it that way. There are some who given half a chance would like to overthrow our country and our values. That makes it necessary to have secrets, and secret government agencies, and secret government operators, and secret government officers. Jeopardizing that secrecy imperils real people: Agents, their families, and ultimately the country. Some things -- the barest minimum -- HAVE to be secret, and those who violate that secrecy have to be made to regret it.
In this movie, however, this dilemma is not even the main point. Rather, it's something much more trivial: This movie is about lionizing obstinacy and selfishness. Armstrong's goal is not to expose corruption (as was the case with, say, the Watergate scandal). No; she's after a good story. That's her principal concern. And if anyone has any doubts about her morality, such doubts are ably dispelled in the last scene where her primary source is finally shown: She had cynically used an innocent kid.
Only well into her incarceration experience does her egocentric motivation metamorphosize into the defense of a -- fairly laudable -- principle, namely, that revealing her clandestine source would dissuade other potential sources from ever divulging their information. Of course, no distinction is made between a source with information about criminal acts vs. a source trying to do something patently against the law (revealing secret agents' identities, for instance). It jives well with the overall shallowness and agenda of the movie.
Thus, if the question was about the quality or nature of the message this picture so brashly assays to send, I'd give it a 0 / 10.
Moreover, not just is the main issue presented simplistically; the characters are, too. They all to one lack nuance: A character is either a sinister, menacing government agent or apparatchik, or an independent-minded, stick-it-to-the-man revolutionary. Van Doren is the only character with a modicum of complexity, which is probably why she gets bumped off barely halfway through. Oh, and her assassin is some schmuck nobody, without a particularly strong reason or rationale.
One thing I'll give the movie: It IS thought-provoking, and for that and that alone it deserves some degree of plaudits.
Friends with Benefits (2011)
H-A-T-E the "music"
Aight, the picture itself is not too bad. It's clichéd, shallow, crude, predictable. It's replete with impossibly talented non-entities cracking wise left and right. Both women and men, gay and straight, are portrayed as annoying jerks, without any old-school values or integrity. If the human race ever devolves to the specimens as depicted in this movie, I'm getting a one-way ticket off the planet.
All that, however, can be glossed over.
What REALLY got to me, and which got me to write this feedback is the supremely irritating muzak. I mean, literally EVERY SINGLE scene concludes with a score, and each and every score is basically some schmuck banging on a guitar and intoning nondescript, forgettable words. It's the kind of thing that passes for "profound" in a hippie commune with everyone stoned and half-comatose. I don't know what genre it officially is... - "indie," is it? I know the said "music" is meant to give pause for thought, reflection, to make us pensive... - but it's just imbecilic and bland. It totally lacks any character. Jeez Alou, you could literally replace all the so-called lyrics with "nya nya nya" in the style of someone who takes a break from drooling into a cup, and the effect would be identical.
Anyway, so the O.S.T. entirely ruined for me what would otherwise have been a 5/10 feature.
Home Improvement (1991)
I had watched a few episodes of Home Improvement now and then back in the late 1990s and for some reason--nostalgia, I guess--decided to re-watch the whole show recently.
I didn't love it and I didn't hate it; I'm kinda blasé about it. It's all right as something running in the background while you do other things, such as browsing the Internet or playing Minesweeper but hardly something to dedicate a half hour to at a time.
The show IS funny but is decidedly low-brow, which I suppose it was aiming for anyway. I did laugh a fair amount, but instead of the guffaws produced by the canned "audience," mine tended to be chuckles. The plots were average, nothing captivating or inspiring but, then, this IS a sitcom, not the Discovery Channel.
Many segments showing tool-work were interesting and that is what carried the show. The scenes involving the characters in family settings were distinctly unremarkable, notwithstanding the occasional witticism, particularly on the part of the boys.
A few specific annoyances:-- Tim: Has his moments but his overall character as a wannabe alpha-male grates. He represents the view that for a man to be a Real Man(TM), he has to dress, act, walk, talk, think and smell like a gorilla. How tiresome. Those WERE the 1990s though; I like to think the world has moved on since then...
Jill: Another cliché. She is incredibly smart, put-down-upon, unappreciated wife to a next-to-useless husband. I suppose she is part of the faux-feminist propaganda machine whereby the woman, though intellectually and often otherwise superior to a man, is downtrodden by him and through various contrived situations she gets her own back, showing him up for the loser he is. Seen it a million times before, such as with Everybody Loves Raymond's Deborah. I guess in Hollywood a woman is either a vacuous tottie playing arm-candy to some superhuman superhero, or an intellectual giant in her own right dealing with exasperating, hapless men... - in other words, a Hollywood woman is everything EXCEPT a man's equal.
Wilson: An interesting and novel concept to begin with, his idiosyncrasies and prowess eventually became his undoing. Finding ways to conceal his face was mostly amusing, but casting him as a person of incredibly many talents, interests, aptitudes, skills, knowledge and experiences became REALLY old halfway through the show. It came to a point where, on seeing the opening shot of him doing some--forgive me--batshit ridiculous thing in his yard, I just groaned and rolled my eyes.
Al: By far the most amiable character. But what's the deal with him and his mother?! That angle was overdone and made him look pathetic and weird, to the point of perversity (Oedipus complex, anyone?).
The Taylor family: I quite liked the boys and it was fun seeing them grow up through the eight seasons of the show. Watching the entire run across a few weeks, I basically witnessed three kids getting eight years older. They had quite a few droll moments. It would have been nice to have had a girl instead of one of the three of them, but then the whole dynamic would have been different, and not necessarily for the better.
Overall: O.K. and just that.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Painfully clichéd, annoyingly predictable
The premise of the movie is somewhat interesting if totally unrealistic. It showcases some sweet special effects. It... - hm, no, that's about it as far as the positive.
The negative? It's deja vu to the point of pathetic and beyond.
An everyday Joe-turned-superhero? Check.
Joe's dysfunctional family brought to reconciliation thru a disaster? Check.
Joe's precocious multitalented kid? Check.
Joe's kid's cute floozy, also boasting nigh-on preternatural abilities (except when she has to play the damsel in distress for Joe's kid to save)? Check.
Politically correct side-characters (e.g. the African American hobo with the intellect of an Ivy League chaired professor)? Check.
Intransigent, maladroit, aggressively stubborn politicians (American, of course)? Check.
Barely 20 minutes into the movie I was rooting for them to perish. Now, THAT, would have been a movie!